Ogilvy Reduces Staff in Chicago

CHICAGO WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather here has cut 10 positions or about 5 percent of its staff, as its core client Sears, Roebuck and Co. has cut spending.

“Ogilvy & Mather Chicago has eliminated some positions from the agency,” according to a statement from the agency. “These actions were warranted by the general softness of the branding business of clients in the first quarter of 2005.”

An agency representative declined to reveal how many positions were cut. Sources said the number was close to 10, or about 5 percent of the shop’s 200 person staff.

The representative said the cuts were not directly related to Sears. But the Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer is cutting its agency fees after merging with Kmart Holding Corp. in March. In April, Sears’ other agency, WPP’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago, cut its freelance budget and five staffers due to the cutbacks, according to sources [Adweek Online, April 5].

Ad spending for Sears Holding Corp., which includes Kmart, from January to March 2005 was $126 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That’s down 16 percent from the previous year’s $150 million.